Thursday, November 6, 2008

Of Politics and Voting

I have struggled to order my feelings around the election and I find myself repeatedly babbling, even inside my own head! :-) It was historic. It was mind blowing. It was for the first time in more years than I care to count, the candidate I believed in, who won. And won decisively. Won in a way that there can be no talk of recounts and faulty machinery, etc. A candidate who won on a mandate from America. And that candidate is a black man.

One of my ministers growing up marched in Selma. The civil rights demonstrations, the changes in our laws, really it was not so long ago. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream. But I wonder if he ever dreamed that a black man would become president of this country. Would he, could he, have dreamed that large in those years?

At the beginning of the campaign, although I was a pro-Obama person, I had a hard time dreaming that large. Truth to tell, I would not have been surprised if Hillary Clinton had won the democratic nomination. I watched in awe as the Obama campaign kept rolling on, gathering momentum. I listened to him speak and I felt hope. OK I know that being a stirring orator does not make one a great president. It doesn't mean you will make the right decisions day to day. that comes from surrounding yourself with intelligent people and I hope that this happens. But there is nothing wrong in my mind with feeling hope either. With feeling that the person speaking, is carrying me along in their dream, that their vision will help our troubled, hurting country. If we don't hope, if we don't dare to dream, elections such as Tuesdays can not come to be.

And as I fed my children breakfast the day after the election, I was able to smile (OK grin foolishly) and remind them that really, truly if you work hard, and dream large, that anything is possible. It felt good to be able to say that to my children. As black children I have the unpleasant duty of explaining things that are not right and fair. That they have to achieve more than a white counterpart to be viewed as just as qualified. That though all pre-teens are prone to mumbling, that young black men who mumble get looked at differently. They are sometimes viewed as uneducated, as thugs, etc. I have had to explain to my asian indian eldest son that he looks like he could have Iraqi heritage and that after 9/11 there was a real need for him to try and control some of his eccentricities while in public in order to remain safe. I have had to explain the realities of DWB, of gangs.

But on Wednesday morning, I could put those harsher issues aside for a time. We could bask in possibilities and opportunities, and talk about dreams fulfilled and promises kept.

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